Fletcher’s silence proving detrimental

So far in his tenure as India coach, there has been no evidence of his wizardry in any sphere.

Colombo: Of the India squad that won the ODI World Cup last year, 10 members were present in the touring party here for the World Twenty20.

But the performances that delivered the most coveted trophy in cricket to India seem to have gone missing for the most part.

Over the last 18 months of repeated failures in England, Australia, the Asia Cup in Bangladesh and now the World T20, one factor that hasn’t been questioned enough is the contribution of coach Duncan Fletcher to the team’s cause.

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It’s hard to replace a coach like Gary Kirsten — who could lead by example, given that he was a splendid opening batsman for South Africa. But Fletcher was his coaching guru, came heavily recommended as a strategist and his track record included being at the helm of the England team in 2005 for perhaps the most surprising Ashes series result since Ian Botham’s heroics in 1981.

Fletcher was a burly all-rounder who captained Zimbabwe in the 1983 World Cup, and went on to become well known for his acumen not just in terms of technique, but in terms of planning.

But so far in his tenure, there has been no evidence of his wizardry in any sphere, barring Virat Kohli’s golden run with the bat, to which a lot of other factors, including the batsman’s own hard work, have contributed.

rectify Gautam Gambhir’s insideedge problems, to rein in Virender Sehwag’s attacking instincts for the team’s good, or to help Rohit Sharma realise his talent.

On the strategy front, India have been strangely bull-headed about team selection in Tests, and inconsistent in limited-overs cricket.

Dhoni’s four bowlers - today, five bowlers- tomorrow, four bowlers - the day after statements during the World T20 seemed to confuse his own team more than it did opponents.

Coming to the bowlers, it is no secret that India keep switching around their limited resources and hope for the best. Even Dhoni has admitted as much.

Joe Dawes, India’s bowling coach from Queensland, can rarely be seen talking to his wards at net sessions. Instead, he walks around the ground watching the batsmen, and giving them throwdowns.

Performance reviews aren’t something the Indian cricket board seems to believe in, but if the coaching staff doesn’t come under the scanner even now, the future, especially on trips outside India, seems to be bleak.

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